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1080i HDTV

This weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, local NBC affiliate KRON
demonstrated HDTV at an on-site location and "closed circuit" at several
Circuit City locations throughout the area. I saw it on a direct view
monitor from Sony because they had trouble setting up the projection monitor
that they will be selling later this year. It sure looks good. Most people
were impressed by the picture and were ready to buy. (It is not for sale
yet.) The format used was 1080i. The only artifact I detected, if indeed
there was one, was on one shot of the crowd observing the concert. The grass
looked like it was breaking up. I don't know if it was a problem particular
to that camera. I didn't notice it on other shots. Or if it was a problem
with the Sony monitor handling the green. But it looked like digital smear.
Also, rented a DVD player this week too. Very nice video. And even without a
Dolby Digital decoder, the regular Dolby Surround soundtrack was impressive.
I rented an extra title that I also had in my Laserdisc collection to
compare. Blade Runner, Director's Cut. I hate to admit it, but DVD looked a
little better. There was no moiréing on the DVD of the flying advertising
blimp in the city scene. But also, there was much less chroma in the red
neon sign behind Harrison Ford. But, that might have been a difference in
the transfer.
So, I have seen the future, and it sure looks good. But, I'm definitely
waiting for prices to come down (and formats to sort themselves out) before
I purchase anything.

CB Gaines, colorist
Monaco Video, San Francisco

Thanks to Kevin Shaw, Avenue Edit, and Modern Video for support in 1998.
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